I choose to ignore the inhuman screams from the bathroom and continue on to the bedroom.
“I’ve found it love.”
“Found what?” My wife answers with seasoned patience aware, no doubt, that a period of communication consisting entirely of swear words and conspiracy theories is about to begin.
“The fucking invisible cord attached to my leg. The one that starts pulling the moment I walk away from them and jerks out of their back as soon as I get somewhere close to where I need to be so they can yell DAAAAAAAAAAD or wail like fucking banshees. Basically our children are operated by an invisible mechanism not unlike the one used to get Woody to talk in Toy Story but without the humour or charm.”
“Keep your voice down.”
“They won’t hear a fucking thing unless I throw in some key word triggers. The CHOCOLATE invisible CHOCOLATE cord attached to my ANDYOUWONTGETASTORYEITHER leg. Are you sure they weren’t hypnotised at birth? We could be the victims of some elaborate hoax schemed up by a failed and embittered carney.”
“Daaaaaaaad…she bit me and now she’s pouring water out of the bath…”
“Don’t like it.”
“You eat pesto and pasta all the time, don’t be ridiculous.”
“Don’t. Like. It.”
“Fine. Then don’t eat it. But there’s nothing else. And there’s no lolly from your party pack.”
“Want my lolly.”
“Then eat your food.”
“Fine. Then I’ll take it away.”
“No Dad. NOOOO DAAAAADDDDD.
“THEN. EAT. YOUR. FOOD. LIKEAGOODGIRL.”
“I’m being a good boy aren’t I Dad?”
There is a certain sibling law that forces one child to be the designated good person for the evening. Tonight is Rhys’ turn and he’s milking it for all the young-sister-teasing he can wring out of the teat.
“Yes my boy, you’ve been a superstar but you’ve still got plenty to eat and…put the toy down…put the camera down…put the book down…put the…WILLYOUJUSTSITSTILLANDSETAGOODEXAMPLE.”
“I love pasta Dad.”
“Glad to hear it Rhys.”
“Arwen is being naughty isn’t she Dad?”
“Not being NAUGHTY.”
“Yes you are, Dad said you are being…”
“RHYS! Enough. You are not the grown up here…”
Even as I’m saying it I can’t help but wonder who is.
“He’s in the corridor.”
“I can hear him sighing.”
“Do you want me to go and sort him out.”
“Just leave him. He’ll fall asleep.”
“It’s just me big guy, I’m putting you to bed. Go back to sleep. I’ll get your pillow now.”
“She was lying the wrong way. I tucked her back in.”
My wife smiles at me with the lazy-eyed lack of focus reserved for headaches and the onset of sleep. “She’s so cute.”
“I know. It’s that hair. He’s asleep as well. He’s a bit hot again though. Probably why he’s being such a pain tonight.”
“Thanks for checking on them love.”
“No worries. Do you need anything?”
“No. I’m fine. Are you staying up?”
“Yeah. I figure I need a couple of hours staring at a blank screen and hating myself. See you in a bit.”
There was a moment during the madness where I spoke some words out loud and they took on a life of their own. Mostly words are just words but sometimes they resonate and vibrate with a truth you didn’t even know you were trying to utter. For one poetic, prophetic moment an eloquent summation of your state escapes your lips. You could try and drag them back but it’s as futile as trying to sew up a tear in a thundercloud.
“Everyone talks about coming back as something else in another life. I always thought I’d like to be a cat for all the lazing about and the nine lives stuff but it’s not true. If I had another crack at things I think I’d come back as someone not very smart – I don’t mean that in a bad way. Maybe smartness has nothing to do with it. I’d like to come back as someone who is just content. Someone who has his lot and loves it no matter what it is. Someone who doesn’t waste his time perpetually searching for something more. Someone who can just rejoice in being.
I’d love to know what it feels like to wake up in the morning and look forward to every moment and possibility the day might bring. To feel comfortable in my own skin and not constantly worrying about things. To be able to take joy out of the day and those I share it with and not just looking for more, for better, for faster, for different.
I try so hard to be that person and it just isn’t me.”
Header Image: Elastic by Umberto Boccioni